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iPhone  header logo

Meteor


For: iPhone

A simple catch on the rebound

Product: Meteor (iPhone) | Developer: Mobile Stream | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade, Retro | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.02
 
Meteor (iPhone) iPhone, thumbnail 1
If you want to be rude about it, Breakout was only invented because gamers weren't very social. Back in the day, Nolan Bushnell computerised Ping Pong into Pong, a successful two-player coin-on game. It was more successful once he got rid of one paddle and added a wall of bricks. The realm of the solitary player versus the high score had arrived and it's never left.

That Meteor, then, comes to iPhone – a connected device geared for socialising – is an ironic event. But such a selection creates another quandary: why choose Meteor as opposed to AstroTilt, BallZup or CannonBall, etc? It's especially tricky as Gameloft's highly polished and enjoyable Block Breaker Deluxe 2 is available at the rock-bottom price of £0.59.

While it doesn't match the glossy presentation of Gameloft's sexy-themed rebounder, Meteor does provide a simple balls-to-the-wall alternative. It's an action-packed alternative that proves variety can cause even the most unabashed clone breakout from the pack.

Things are far more frenzied in Meteor in part due to the relatively large size of the blocks and game objects. The ball pings around the screen at such a speedy clip that when you collect a falling power up that speeds up the ball, lightning-fast reflexes are needed just to keep it in play. Fortunately, you're generously offered several chances to make it work: if you choose 'easy' you start with 18 lives, 'medium' gives you 14, and 'hard' 10. Plus, there are plenty of falling hearts to boost your longevity along the way.

The controls are solid with a ship-shaped symbol below the actual ship to show you where to slide your finger left and right; the sound effects are helpful, with a digitised voice letting you know what the falling power-ups are; and if the graphics occasionally feel like programmer art – the explosions are particularly 8-bit – it's a small price to pay for the game's overall pace.

The 90 levels are organised into batches of ten, accessible in any order from the starting screen. There's loads of variation in terms of the different power-ups you can collect, too – everything from shields, magnets, multi-balls and fireballs, to guns and missile launchers. Equally, the bricks display an array of attributes such as some that require multiple hits, explosive bricks, and even invisible ones. You'll even encounter enemy spaceships ready to drop bombs on you.

Ample variety, however, doesn't shoot Meteor past better competitors. There's no thematic progression and even with high-score table, little reason to play though the levels with any kind of determination. It's essentially a ginned up version of Breakout.

Still, that's not to ignore the immediate pleasure of bouncing a ball off your paddle and bashing various patterns of bricks into oblivion. For that sort of bite-sized entertainment, Meteor certainly fills a hole.
 
Meteor
Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan | 2 January 2009
If you want a fast, no frills version of Breakout to fill spare minutes then Meteor does the trick
 
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